Ninth Secret

He knows he loves her when he tells her that he is all wrong for her, that he is too old for her, and a werewolf, and a chronic failure at decent human relationships, and an old, irritable hermit. She slaps him across the face soundly, and he gasps more in shock than at the slight pain of it. and the sliding into place of so many different pieces that lead him to think, "oh, love, yes." She quickly pushes him back down onto the bed and covers his face with kisses all over, taking special care to linger over the portion that stings from her hand.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she whispers to his skin, to his lips and his eyes, between kisses, barely moving her mouth far enough from him to speak. Pulling back to look into his eyes, he can see hers fill with tears as she says, "It's just . . . you're not allowed to talk about yourself like that."

He is amenable to this, and she must see it in his face, because she laughs a bit, laying her head on his chest, and says, "Besides, I only date older men." He wonders if he can possibly love her this much and not lose her. Given his past, he thinks not.